Chelsea have certainly had more than our fair share of head-turning results, both good and bad, this season, but this one, this 3-0 surrender at Brammal Lane, easily feels like one of the worst, if not the worst yet. Just when it looked like the boys might be figuring some stuff out, an absolute nothing of a performance happens, which is then duly punished by a much more inspired, organized, willing home side fighting for Europe just as we are.
Chelsea have of course been inconsistent all season, from day one to day today. And many of the underlying issues that are causing those inconsistencies won’t get ironed out overnight or without drastic changes. But it sure would be nice to see some progress.
Alas, this game was the opposite of progress. Congress? That’s an old joke.
Lampard was certainly not in a joking mood.
“Sheffield United had more voice, more personality and that was reflected in the way they played.”
“[...] if you are going to play with a slow level, a low technical level compared to how we normally play with our first touch and the ability to play forward quickly. If we are not going to compete at the level we should do in the first 45 minutes in particular, then it doesn’t matter how you set up tactically.
“As Chelsea we come here, we respect Sheffield United. We matched them up in the second half (with our formation). I still felt physically at times we weren’t good enough, we didn’t create enough in our quality of our game or the physical nature of it.”
Chelsea had the vast majority of possession but none of the threat. The team’s inconsistency in the final third, ineptitude in the defensive third, and invisibility in the middle third were on full and shocking display. Or perhaps not so shocking anymore.
There are three games left in the season, plus at least one more in the FA Cup and the Champions League, and this is all we’ve got to try deal with those and still finish in the top four and maybe get lucky in the Cup.
This is our level and that’s not changing in the next month. There’s little else left to do than to try to keep it positive and hope we get some help from those around us.
“I learned a lot of things, but I won’t start on that because it will be a long answer [...] We made mistakes which led to goals, individual errors and against good teams like that you are going to lose football matches. They are a good team.
“You don’t want to say you’re patient, we are all striving for the answer right now, but at the moment where we are at, the answer is we have got how many games that we know in the league and in the cup and the Champions League this season. So I just want to look forward and not get into the analysis and details of the game today, and we have to be positive.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Leicester City and Manchester United are still to play this weekend, and would push Chelsea out of the top four with wins. Those two do face each each other on the final matchday, which does mean that we still control our own destiny. If we win out in the last three games (already-relegated Norwich City at home; already-champions Liverpool away; top-six-fighting Wolves at home), we’re guaranteed a top four finish.
Maybe if we squeeze our eyes and wish really hard and click our heels twice, we’ll do just that.